MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP)-- Memphis players can expect plenty of zone
defenses this season.
Winthrop used that strategy to stay close until the No. 4
Tigers pulled away for a 73-63 win on Sunday.
Rodney Carney scored 21 points and Darius Washington had seven
of his 14 points during a key stretch as the Tigers (13-2) won
their second straight after losing to No. 15 Texas last week. The
Tigers only other loss was to No. 1 Duke in the Preseason NIT
The Texas zone held Memphis to 29 percent shooting, and it
appears other teams are going to experiment with the same formula.
"Everybody saw the Texas game, so everybody thinks we don't
play well against a zone," Washington said. "It was one of those
games with Texas that we weren't hitting shots. They weren't
falling our way. Now teams think they can just play a zone. They
don't know we have too many weapons and that game against Texas was
really a fluke."
Carney made 7-of-14 shots, including 4-of-9 from 3-point range.
Andre Allen added 11 for Memphis.
Torrell Martin, the preseason Big South player of the year, had
only 2 points and was 0-for-9.
"I'm just happy that it is over," Memphis coach John Calipari
said. "This is one of those games that you schedule at the
beginning of the year for one reason, and that is to help our RPI.
"Now that we have won the game, it is great game for us."
Winthrop (7-4) has dropped road games at Alabama, South
Carolina, Auburn and Memphis. Coach Gregg Marshall said he would
like his team's chances against any of those on a neutral court.
"We play a lot of these games, and for the most part, if we're
not fortunate enough to win, we do compete like heck and give the
home crowd their money's worth," Marshall said.
Marshall knew the Eagles would have trouble with the Tigers'
guard penetration, whether it was Memphis getting to the rim or
kicking the ball outside for an open 3.
"We knew we were going to have to get a lot of help with guard
penetration, and I thought our guys did a very good job with that
for the most part," Marshall said. "Now obviously, there were
breakdowns here and there, and when that occurred, it usually was
bad news for the visitors."
Despite trailing by 15 with just under 6 minutes left, Winthrop
pulled within 64-55. Jenkins added an 8-foot runner and a 3-pointer
to trail 66-60 with 3 minutes left.
Washington then made 5-of-7 free throws in the final minutes,
and added a layup with 17 seconds left.
Memphis struggled early against the Eagles' zone defense,
misfiring from the outside. Winthrop held an early lead until
Carney made a trio of 3-pointers to help Memphis build a 33-24
"We played about 80 percent zone, maybe 75," Marshall said.
"Again, it goes back to the point, we would have had a very
difficult time staying in front of these tremendous athletes
Washington said he expects Conference USA teams to rely on the
zone, so he and his teammates need to get used to breaking the
defense down to open the middle.
"They really can't play us [man-to-man] because we have too
many weapons," Washington said. "They will just sit back in the
zone and pray that we're not making shots that day."